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Unconstitutionality of debt ceiling questioned amidst flurry of activity at White House

Published: Thursday, June 30 2011 5:55 p.m. MDT

"I've met with the leaders multiple times," he continued. "At a certain point, they need to do their job."

USA Today reported Thursday that Obama's tough talk about Congress' work ethic came as a surprise during his press conference. "But the president had a lot to say," says Today's David Jackson: "There's no point in procrastinating," Obama said. "There's no point in putting it off. We've got to get this done. And if by the end of this week we have not seen substantial progress, then I think members of Congress need to understand we are going to start having to cancel things and stay here until we get it done.

"They're in one week, they're out one week. And then they're saying, 'Obama has got to step in.' You need to be here! I've been here. I've been doing Afghanistan and bin Laden and the Greek crisis. You stay here! Let's get it done. All right. I think you know my feelings about that."

The story further explains how Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., invited Obama to lunch with Senate Republicans to discuss his plans for increased government revenues, which Republicans interpret as tax hikes.

At lunch, Obama "can hear directly from Republicans why what he's proposing won't pass," McConnell said. "And we can start talking about what's actually possible."

"It doesn't sound like that lunch will happen," Jackson said.

White House spokesman Jay Carney said Republicans are well aware of the president's position, which includes eliminating subsidies and tax breaks for wealthy Americans, such as oil company and private airplane owners.

CNN also reported that Obama said Congress should cancel upcoming summer vacations if a deal isn't struck by the end of the week.

"I want everybody to understand that this is a jobs issue. This is not an abstraction," he said. "If the United States government, for the first time, cannot pay its bills — if it defaults — then the consequences for the U.S. economy will be significant and unpredictable. And that is not a good thing."

CNN senior political analyst David Gergen wrote that Obama's speech "will prompt hard feelings among conservative leaders and won't really please liberals who worry that he isn't doing enough to goose up the economy and may give away the store on deficit reductions.

"Neither side really wants to let the government go into default," he continued, echoing Sahadi's sentiments. "So, the prospect of a short-term fix grows, and this is something that won't please anybody, will rattle the financial markets and will once again send a message that the circus goes on."

Email: rwilkinson@desnews.com

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